It’s a phrase my Grandmother taught me. It’s a word she used to describe both the tone in your voice and the words that come out. She hit the nail right on the head. Part of the problem of our world today all the vinegar in everyone’s mouths.
The way you interact with everyone carries a certain tone. I recall a memory where my sweet friend was replaying a fight with her boyfriend, and she was laying it out in play-by-play sequence. Insert phone ringing in the middle of our convo, and she walked over to it on the wall, cuz that’s where the phone was while we were growing up. It was a fabulously obnoxious marigold phone that hung from the wall. It had the longest cord I had ever seen. Partly because it was a long cord, partly because it already had years of us twirling up in it while chit-chatting with our friends. She picks up the phone, straightened up her shoulders as a reset, and says in her normal sweet voice, “Hellooo.” This moment I keep coming back to in my mind as the best example of changing your tone.
I know that there have been times were I’ve answered my cell phone in a tone less than desirable for the image I want to be putting out there for everyone. And of all the people in the world, it’s ALWAYS my sweet husband who’s on the other end of that. The man that I’ve sworn to respect and honor. The man I love. Well, crap. Reflecting on it stings because that’s not who I want to be. I can’t imagine that it’s who God made me to be.
It makes me wonder what pushes us to the edge and allows us to justify the vinegar coming out. I know that in the moment, I feel like my attitude is somehow necessary to get my point across. It’s not, though, cuz that’s stupid. Choosing a sour tone and words in ALWAYS unnecessary. In every situation, your tone and words could and should be chosen with respect for the person with whom you’re speaking.
Especially our children. Our kids learn from us. As much as I would sometimes like to ignore that little tidbit, it’s true. And I mean even the things you don’t think they’re watching. That’s the cold, hard truth ya’ll. That’s the part that sucks the most about being a grown-up. Coincidentally, that’s also part of the problem of the world we live in; not enough actual grown-ups.
There have been times that the boys get into fights with each other, and I can hear those moments relived like a bad reboot film to a bad first run film that should never have happened. The original stunk, but they did another, stinkier one too! It’s that exasperated I-should’ve-put-myself-in-timeout mommy tone that comes flying out of their mouths. If you’re a parent, you know that is quite possibly the worst feeling in the world. Knowing they heard you in your broken moment, and it left a mark. And not only a mark, he’s now mimicking that tone because it worked when you used it. Boo. As parents, however, we have to remember that we are all flawed. None of us are perfect, not even the snooty toot that’s always up at the school cheering on her kid. Don’t worry, her kid may be the one with a failure to launch. I’m just saying. We’re all broken. We can only choose to do better in the now.
Here’s my challenge to you. I want you to think about everything you do every single moment of today and look at it through the lens of truth. Did you come off with the tone you ideally wanted? Did the words that came out of your mouth leave a mark on the recipient’s heart? Or, did you think about your words and tone and project them in a way that was respectful and loving to the recipient? If not, how could you do things differently next time? Go look at the last year of your Facebook. Read every single post as if it were someone you’d like to friend. Read them all… do you still want to friend that person? Or are there things you find yourself wanted to hide from your timeline?
You must consciously take the vinegar out of your mouth and paint yourself to others the way you want to be seen.
Be awesome and uplifting, not poopy and crass. Everyone, including yourself, will thank you for it. Probably silently, but it’ll still be there. 🙂
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